This refers to the article “Paid news, a deep-seated malaise” (Jan. 20). The practice of paid news, which has existed for years, became rampant after the advent of television news channels. As a journalist who has worked for some well-known dailies, I know for a fact that even some editors are part of the racket. The line that divides news from paid news is very thin. Many editors build their clout by providing news coverage and curry favours with people in power. Some “political analysts” are on the payroll of parties.
The widespread unrest in Telangana over the issue of statehood is largely due to the media, particularly the regional print and electronic media. It is time an independent body regulated the media. Yes, they should be brought under the purview of the RTI Act as soon as possible.
Action against erring journalists and media houses should be stringent. Just as the Medical Council of India takes away the licence of erring doctors and hospitals which tarnish the image of medicine, journalists and media houses indulging in fraudulent practices should be banned from writing and bringing out newspapers. They should be made to pay a heavy price for tarnishing the image of the profession they are in.
The effort by The Hindu to start a debate on paid news is most welcome. The suggestion to regulate and bring some transparency through applying some features of the RTI Act should be given a fair trial. So long as money power rules over everything else, the benefits could be marginal. Still, sane voices should continue to vibrate and purify the otherwise polluted atmosphere. Congratulations to the newspaper on allowing some space for the purpose.